PODCAST

Finding What Works episode 1: An introduction

Kat Nicholls
By Kat Nicholls,
updated on Aug 30, 2023

Woman listening to podcast with eyes closed

Keep reading to learn more about our first episode and to get the transcript for the episode

We’re thrilled to tell you that our new podcast is here! In our first episode, we’re reintroducing ourselves as a company, sharing our story and how we got here. We’re introducing the podcast itself, delving into the concept and why we’re so excited about it, and finally we’re introducing… well, myself – your host.

To help you get to know me a little better, I’m sharing more about my own mental health journey as well as what currently is (and isn’t) working for me in terms of wellbeing. Next week we’re diving into our conversations, starting with a discussion about resilience – what does it really mean and how can we build it?

For now, I’ll leave you with our first episode. Be sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts to ensure you don’t miss an episode.

Transcript:

Hello everyone, and welcome to the very first episode of Happiful: Finding What Works, I'm so pleased to have you here and I can't wait for us to get started. So this episode is going to be a bit of an introduction to the brand behind the podcast, the podcast itself, and to myself, your host. To start with, let me share a bit more about the brand behind the podcast, Happiful, and if you have listened to our previous podcast, I am. I have, you may be familiar with us and our story, but hopefully, you won't mind a refresh and if you're new here, hopefully, this will be some interesting information.

About us

Happiful started when two sisters struggled to find mental health support. They were looking for help, but they didn't wanna go down the conventional route of their doctors and being referred to a counsellor. This was back in the early 2000s when really that was the only option available to them. So they decided to make a change and create something new where you could find private counsellors by typing in your postcode to a website. This idea became Counselling Directory, which launched in 2005, a website where you can learn more about counsellors and the way they work before getting in touch and before arranging that first meeting.

This quite quickly expanded into more directories, including Nutritionist Resource, Therapy Directory, Hypnotherapy Directory, and Life Coach Directory. And the reason for this expansion was that the two sisters realised wellness is a really multifaceted thing. There are so many aspects to what makes us feel well, and there are many different professionals out there that can help us get there.

In 2017, we created Happiful Magazine, which is a lifestyle magazine dedicated to better mental health. This contained stigma, smashing articles, expert insights, and a lot of really great self-help advice. Alongside the directories, we now have happiful.com, which is your one-stop shop for all things mental health and wellness. You can use our search tool there to find professionals across all of our directories. There are free articles to read here as well, you can sign up to our weekly newsletter and also subscribe of course to our brilliant magazine.

Our mission from day one with all of this has been to help create a healthier, happier, and more sustainable society. And we do this by connecting people to what they need, whether that's professional support or self-help. OK, so how does this podcast fit into all of that?

About the podcast

Well, having been in the industry for a while, we know how murky the world of wellness can be, with lots of different information about what's the right thing to do, what's the wrong thing to do, it can be kind of tough to navigate. We also know how unique everyone is, and that one-size-fits-all advice does not really cut it for everyone.

So the aim of this podcast really is to cut through that noise so that we can figure out what works for us both individually and as a society. Because we don't exist in a silo, it's really essential for us to think about the context of the issues we're discussing, including who might be most affected and how we can support them. We're gonna be doing this by talking to professionals and those with lived experience and asking some pretty big questions. Questions like, what does it mean for something to work? Some of the things we're gonna be talking about are lifelong things that we can't change, so how can we find a way of making it work for us?

We're gonna be talking about who these things might not work for. So some of the things we're going to be talking about aren't going to be suitable for everyone, and it's really important that we ask that question, who might this not work for? And of course, we're going to be asking how to find the right tools that work for you.

Each conversation is going to be themed around a different topic that we think is really important for wellness, and I'd love it if you'd think about these conversations as inhales - taking in information and insight because then the following week we're going to have exhale episodes. These episodes are going to be bite-sized, hopefully, no more than 10 minutes. The aim of these is to help you pause and put into practice what you've learned from the previous conversation because I don't know about you, but sometimes when I listen to a podcast, I think, oh, this is great, this is really interesting information… And then I kind of just carry on with my day and forget what I heard.

So, my hope with these exhale episodes is that it helps us to slow down our consumption somewhat. It helps us to just take that moment to pause and really think about what we heard about the previous week in that conversation and how we can start to apply that to our lives.

There aren't going to be any magic cures here or any guarantees. The aim instead is to hopefully give you ideas and insights so that you can go away and do some self-exploration and find what works for you. We really don't believe in gatekeeping ideas here, which is why we want to explore these topics on our podcast, which can be listened to for free wherever you are on your journey.

About your host

OK, so now you know a little bit more about the brand and about the podcast itself, I wanted to talk a little bit about who I am and why I'm really excited to be going through these topics with you. So I've been working for Happiful for just over 10 years now, and I came to the job with my own experience of poor mental health, knowing that I had something to contribute to this space and I had some opinions and things I wanted to share.

In my teens I struggled with low self-worth and that manifested for me in the form of an eating disorder, self-harm and depression. This was an incredibly difficult time and I lent on a number of tools to help prop me up, including specialist therapy, journaling, and basically rebuilding my sense of self-worth from scratch. During my recovery, I learned a huge amount, and I've just been really passionate about sharing what I've learned ever since. Over the years I found various ways of doing this from writing, whether personal writing or here at Happiful, volunteering, or even as a brief stint as a confidence coach.

These days I'm focusing on content creation here at Happiful whether that's writing for the magazine, for the directories, creating video content, or of course now podcasting. Along with this, I also volunteer for Beat, which is the UK's eating disorder charity and I do this to really take the lived experience I have of an eating disorder and turn it into something positive and I find the two go hand in hand really well.

Of course, like most of us, my mental health journey is an ongoing one. Something I realised was at the root of my eating disorder was anxiety and that's definitely something I still navigate to this day. And while I have found things that work for me, I'm really curious to learn more because the brilliant and devastating thing about life is that it always changes and it can throw different things at us, and sometimes we might need to tweak and adjust the tools that we turn to. And I'm hoping through this podcast we can give you an array of different tools to add to your toolbox.

I want to stress at this point that this podcast is not about becoming a different person. It's not about ridding life of all negatives, becoming all-consumed with everything self-improvement. It's about feeling more content in our own skin, liking ourselves more, navigating life's curve balls and feeling more capable of handling the challenges life throws at us. It's about looking past the obvious and exploring different tools that are available to us. That's something I've learned in my decade of working for Happiful, there are so many tools and techniques out there, um, sometimes we just have to broaden our perspective. It's about recognising our differences and stepping away from societal expectations that you're X, therefore you should be Y. It's also about understanding the bigger picture, what needs to change in our culture, what's stopping us from feeling well.

We can do a lot of work on ourselves, but we have to consider the backdrop we're doing it against. We have to recognise what's out of our control and how we can cope with that. In the time I've worked at Happiful, I've learned a lot about all of these different things. And yeah, I'm just really excited to start delving into it and sharing it with you.

And for this first episode, I thought to get to know each other a little bit better, I thought I would share a bit more about what's working for me right now and what's not working. And something worth mentioning at this point is that it can be really changeable. There are some tools that used to be my absolute fail-safe that now don't support me as much. So it's a little bit of a reminder to you to check in with yourself every now and then with the tools that you're using. Are they still serving you or do you need to mix things up a bit?

A white graphic with bright coloured elements. Words say: Finding what works: an introduction, Kat Nicholls. There is a black and white picture of Kat.

What's working

With that being said, let's dive into a few things that are working for me right now. And the first thing is listening to loud music when I'm stressed. There's a lot of different advice out there about what you can do when you're stressed, like breathing techniques, going, you know, doing some exercise, punching a pillow, things like that. For me, I've just found it really helpful to pop some headphones on, crank that music really loud, preferably something a bit rocky, and then just either sing along, or go out for a good stomp. There's a pond near me and if I can go for a good stomp, sit by the pond, look at some ducks, stomp back, usually I'm pretty good after that.

Next, we have morning meditations. So meditation is something that has been working for me for quite a while now, and I found that the morning is best for me. I've trialled different times like midday, before bed, but at the moment before I get up seems to be the trick. And what I do at the moment is spend 10 minutes before I get out of bed listening to a meditation, usually something from the Calm app, and that just sets me up for my day. Something I heard once was that we should be checking in with ourselves before we check in with the rest of the world and that really stuck with me. So, I try and do that in the mornings, I try to check in with myself through meditation before going and scrolling on Twitter or news websites and seeing what's happening else, what's happening with everyone else in the world. So yeah, that's working right now.

Next on my list, I have Pilates. So, I've been doing this for just over a year now and I started after experiencing some joint pain and some fatigue, um, which followed on from a bout of Covid and I went to various doctors and I went to a rheumatologist who noticed that I was a little bit hypermobile and said that Pilates is something that might be able to help. So, I started doing it and yeah, I've been keeping it up for a year. It's been really, really useful for me. The pain has definitely reduced, and I really like the social element as well. What's making it work for me is going to a weekly in-person class and paying for it upfront. <laugh>, that definitely helps me with my accountability and making sure I go to classes. And yeah, there's a couple of people who are regulars that I see every week, and it's just lovely to have that social element to it as well.

Next, I have taking Saturdays off social media. So, I love social media and I actually think it can be a really uplifting and positive place to be if we use it in the right way and if we curate it in the right way. But I still find, despite that, I do need quite regular breaks. And for me, taking one day off a week just works. I spend that time doing other things. Um, I connect with people in person and that, yeah, just that break gives me the head space I need. Sometimes I will take more time off, I've been known to take a couple of weeks or even a month off at times when I really needed it, but to kind of keep me ticking over, once a week is what's right for me.

And of course, the whole premise of this podcast is gonna be the fact that everything is different for everyone. So for you, that might sound wild that I take a day off or it might sound wild that I only take one day off. So it's really interesting how different we all are, but at the moment that's working for me.

And finally, something else that works for me is eating chocolate every day. So this is quite a big one because as I mentioned, I do have a history of disordered eating, so giving myself radical permission and following intuitive eating has been really important as a part of my recovery. And for me, that means I generally eat chocolate every day knowing that I can and that it's OK. Doing it guilt-free is an absolutely huge thing for me and every time I do it, it just makes me do a little bit of a smile and a little mini fist pump because yeah, I have control over what I eat and I feel good about it, and that's a really positive thing for me. And yes, as I said, eating is a really big topic and don't worry, we are gonna be getting into it in a future episode.

What's not working

OK, so those are a few things that are working for me right now. What about what's not working, because I think this is really important for us to do when we're exploring the different things that work for us in terms of mental health and wellness, is to not only identify the positives and what is working for you but also being a bit critical and thinking what might not be working for you right now.

And top of my list is something I never thought would be on this list, and that is journaling. So I have been journaling or writing in a diary in some form since I was 13 years old. Um, I'm in my late thirties now to give you an idea of how long that's been. And yeah, I am a writer. That is what I do for a day job. That is how I generally process things. So journaling has always been a really important part of keeping well, but recently I found it's just something I'm not turning to as much.

I feel like I'm at a stage in life where I'm interested in the living and the doing and the being rather than the pausing and the reflecting. Now I know from my history and how useful journaling has been that this is probably just a temporary thing. I imagine I will come back to journaling at some point. Um, I don't think this is the end of my journaling journey, but for now, it's actually quite nice to not be using it. It's something that isn't being as supportive as it used to be, and that's OK. It's OK to put certain tools down and pick them up again. That's the beauty of them.

Next on my list, I'm at home working full-time. So after the pandemic, our offices, obviously everyone had to go and work from home and at first I kind of loved it. I am an introvert, I'm a writer – having my own space, it did work out quite well. And since restrictions have lifted, we've become more of a hybrid model where we have an office and people can go into it as and when they want. And again, in those early days, those early days of coming out of the pandemic, I thought, no, I love homeworking, I'm gonna be full-time homeworking, but after a while, I realised that actually my mental health really benefits from going into the office and seeing people, talking to colleagues, getting a change of environment. And since then I've been going in pretty much once a week, if not twice a week and it's just really working for me.

So I guess this is a reminder to challenge yourself and maybe your preconceived notions of what may be right for you and what may not. Don't be afraid to experiment and explore different options because you never know what might happen.

Next on my list of things that aren't working for me right now is alcohol. This is definitely one that's in a state of flux, but I've realised recently that I really don't enjoy having more than one or two drinks on an occasion. It just makes me feel pretty awful the next day. It really aggravates my anxiety and, for what? I don't really feel the benefits of it and, I guess you could say the cons outweigh the pros at the moment. So for me, I'm definitely stepping back from drinking as much. I used to always end my week with a gin and tonic, but even that I just don't feel drawn to at the moment.

And I'm really enjoying some of the non-alcoholic alternatives there are out there. Um, I wouldn't say I am planning or ready to completely quit alcohol, however, I'm enjoying stepping back from it at the moment and I'm open to the idea of not really drinking so much. Um, but yeah, this is a really personal one, of course, and everyone's going to be different, but that's just where I'm at at the moment. Um, yeah, alcohol… not working so much for me at the moment.

Next, I have one that may not sound wellness-related, but stick with me because I think it is, and that is wearing heels. I realised this quite recently, I wore a pair of heeled boots, which I thought would be safe, to a friend's wedding, and I spent most of the night in pain. And that was all I could think about. That was all I could focus on, my feet hurting. I was struggling to keep up with conversation, listening to people, dancing, and having a good time because I was in so much pain.

In the end, I had to get my partner to go home and bring my trainers <laugh> so that I could stop thinking about the pain and start thinking about where I was and to be present in the moment. Ever since then, I have thrown out all of my heels and I have said no more, I'm not going to be in pain at occasions, at events like this, I wanna enjoy myself. So I have a pair of trusty trainers that I wear a lot, um, I've even been known to wear them to a wedding <laugh> and some flat, slightly, tiny, tiny little heeled boots, um, which are bearable, are comfortable, but yeah, I just realised life's too short to be in pain and I think that is a part of wellness to realise something's distracting you from the present moment, and it's something you can quite easily change. So yeah, heels, I can't do it, I respect you if you can, if you love heels, if they make you feel amazing and you can do it, kudos to you. Well done. Um, I'm, I'm just not there at the moment.

And then the final thing I have on my list of things that aren't working for me right now are work-related podcasts. So I used to absolutely devour any podcast that was related to career, to running your own business, especially when I had my coaching business, I just, that was all I could listen to, I loved it. But since letting go of that business and just recognising a need for more of a work-life balance, I've really pulled away from that kind of content.

Instead, I'm listening to fictional podcasts, podcasts about relationships, and even science-related podcasts, which I never thought I'd be interested in, but I find them amazing. I really love filling my mind with something new and inspiring, and I come away feeling uplifted. So again, this is a reminder to check in on the content you're consuming, the media you're consuming, how is that feeling for you right now? Do you need to change things up a bit?

Coming up in season one

And if you are here listening to this podcast, hoping to be inspired, then you are in the right place. So let's talk a little bit more about what you can expect from season one. In season one, we're going to be looking at the following topics: resilience, friendship, relaxation, and eating. We're also going to be ending the season with a round-table conversation with Happiful employees, where we're going to be sharing a bit more about what we've learned about what works for us since working at Happiful.

I'm really excited to be navigating these topics in a slow and mindful way where we can hopefully really get into these topics deep and we can understand what works for us when it comes to them. If you found us through our previous podcast, I am. I have. I really hope you stick with us as we navigate this new territory together. I know our previous host, Lucy Donoughue, created something magical with that podcast, and let's just say she's left some very big shoes to fill. But I'm hoping I can do that and I'm hoping you'll join us as we continue this new journey. And if you're listening to this for the very first time, I want to say welcome, I'm so pleased you're here.

We're going to be kicking the series off with a conversation on resilience next week, so make sure you subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. I'd also encourage you to head to Happiful.com and scroll down to the bottom so that you can join our newsletter. This is where we'll be sharing more information about upcoming episodes.

And there we have it, I really hope this first episode has got you as excited as I am about the upcoming series. We'll be back next week, and I can't wait to chat then. Thank you so much for listening.

If you enjoyed this episode, please do share it with anyone you think may benefit and rate and review the podcast. This all helps our mission of creating a happier and healthier society. To delve deeper into the topics discussed today, and to find professional support that's right for you, visit Happiful.com.

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